Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Morrell, 5 February 1813

To Robert Morrell

Monticello Feb. 5. 13.


The book which you were so kind as to take charge of at Paris for me is safely recieved, and I thank you for your care of it, & more particularly for the indulgent sentiments you are so kind as to express towards myself.1 I am happy at all times to hear of the welfare of my literary friends in that country. they have had a hard time of it since I left them. I know nothing which can so severely try the heart and spirit of man, & especially of the man of science, as the necessity of a passive acquiescence under the abominations of an unprincipled tyrant who is deluging the earth with blood to acquire for himself the reputation of a Cartouche or a Robin Hood. the petty larcenies of the Blackbeards & Buccaneers of the ocean, tho more immediately exercised on us, are dirty and groveling things addressed to our contempt while the horrors excited by the Scelerat of France are beyond all human execrations. with my thanks for your kind attentions be pleased to accept the assurance of my respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (PHi: Society Collection); addressed: “Doctr Robert Morrell Washington”; with RC of undated note by TJ to James Monroe, not recorded in SJL, on address cover: “recommended to the Secretary of state for a more particular address, if necessary by his friend. Th:J.”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 10 Feb. PoC (DLC). Tr (DLC: Colonial & Revolutionary Papers of Delaware); enclosed in Outerbridge Horsey to Unknown, 1 Feb. 1814 (Tr in same), which states that “The letter enclosed is a copy. It was written to Dr Morrell on his return from France and bringing Mr Jef. letters from his literary friends in France. The Sentiments expressed are so much in unison with yours, I did not know that I could make you a more acceptable present. The curiosity you will please preserve. Shew it to any one you please—particularly Messrs Johns, Van Dyke & Rogers—but do not permit it to be published. I was expressly enjoined not to publish it.” Tr (MHi: Pickering Papers). Tr (same).

unprincipled tyrant: Napoleon. scelerat is French for “villain.”

1Sentence omitted in all Trs.

Index Entries

  • Blackbeard (Edward Teach) search
  • Cartouche (Louis Bourguignon) search
  • Horsey, Outerbridge; forwards TJ’s letter search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Johns, Kensey search
  • Morrell, Robert; forwards book to TJ search
  • Morrell, Robert; letters to search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Robin Hood search
  • Rogers, John (of Md.) search
  • Teach, Edward (Blackbeard) search
  • Van Dyke, Nicholas search